Autism is a debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder of early childhood with both genetic and environmental origins. Immune system dysregulation has been hypothesized to be involved in this disorder. We quantified levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and β-actin in three areas of the brain, namely, area 9, area 40 and cerebellum, in age matched autistic and control postmortem specimen using SDS-PAGE and western blotting techniques. Significant elevations in levels of GFAP were observed in all three brain areas in autism. This report confirms a recent report showing microglial and astroglial activation in autism. Increased GFAP levels in autistic brains signify gliosis, reactive injury, and perturbed neuronal migration processes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr S. H. Fatemi has been supported by Jonty Foundation, Kunin Fund of St. Paul Foundation and March of Dimes. We acknowledge the gift of brain specimens by TARF and its affiliated brain banks (Harvard University Brain bank, Universities of Miami and Maryland Brain Banks) and technical contributions by Drs J.M. Stary, M. Araghi-Niknam and S. Lee. We are thankful to Ms Teri Reutiman for technical help and Ms Janet Holland and Ms Danielle Johansson for secretarial assistance.
- Western blotting